Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (BPH)


Libraries for the blind were established by the U.S. Congress through the Pratt-Smoot Act of 1931. This act provided an entity within the Library of Congress to handle special format materials for blind adults. Over the years, the law has been amended to include children with vision problems, persons with physical impairments which affect reading and persons with reading disabilities caused by a physical dysfunction. The Regional Library began its services in Montgomery in 1978.

General Information

The Regional Library is one of 56 network libraries partnering with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the Library of Congress. Special format materials and unique playback equipment are provided free of charge to those who qualify for the services. Free mailing privileges are provided by the United States Postal Service. Books are checked out for a 90 day loan period and can be renewed once for 30 days. In order to be issued playback equipment, a patron must check out at least one book or subscribe to one magazine per year

You are eligible for services if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are legally blind
  • You are unable to see standard print with corrected vision
  • You have a physical limitation that keeps you from holding a book or turning its pages
  • You are certified by a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy as having a reading disability due to an organic dysfunction
  • You are deaf-blind
  • Whether a temporary or permanent loss, services are available when your disability is approved by a certifying authority as defined by the National Library Service. Institutions who serve persons with qualifying disabilities are eligible for library services also. The certifying authority for institutions would be the administrator of that facility or program. Veterans are given preference in all areas of service.

    Link to NLS individual application

    Link to NLS Institutional application

    Circulation Services

    The Regional Library serves patrons in sixty-three of Alabama’s counties. Patrons may choose from a wide variety of recreational and basic informational talking books, which are available on digital cartridges or for download by the patrons themselves. Braille and Web-Braille titles are available as well. A wide variety of magazines are available on digital cartridge or through download . NLS maintains its Online Catalog of all titles available for loan through its holdings and by interlibrary loan through other network libraries.

    Subregional Libraries

    Two subregional libraries work cooperatively with the Regional Library to provide NLS materials for patrons in their local service areas. The Huntsville subregional library is located within the Huntsville Public Library. The second subregional is located on the Alabama Institute for the Blind campus in Talladega and serves patrons in the tri-county area of Calhoun, St. Clair and Talladega. You may contact them directly through their websites or contact us for more information.

    National Library Service

    Consultants from the Washington DC office make biennial visits to monitor program compliance as set forth by the American Library Association/Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies in its “Revised Standards and Guidelines of Service…,2011”. The NLS is responsible for the selection, formatting, and distribution of the books, magazines, listening equipment and accessories. For more information you can visit their website at

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